Colorize a Black And White Photo In Photoshop


To colorize a black and white photo / image in Photoshop super quick and efficiently


You can find the colorize in the neural panel, top section of the effects (so you won't see it listed in the commands until you get into the actual neural panel along with all the other amazing tools)

Basic use

Select an image layer (preferably a gray scale image / old image from the 40s or 50s etc) and then go to the neural tool then go to the entry you require and download it. It is an odd way to work but often there are updates and you will have to download those to use the tool. If you already have it you will also have to activate it via the little slider next to the name of the tool and then you can use all the different sliders as well as controls and also output options.


Personally, I find the defaults quite reasonable and you should be able to click OK but you can see the preview on the left of the panel. As you change the settings you will notice the little processing circle as the image is processed on-line.

Focal points

You can also click on the image preview and add some focal points to modify the effect locally. You will see a stop which can be modified and the range of the change over the image can be increased or decreased.


You can increase the profile strength though the results can be quite garish after 50%, if you only want a minimal change to the image then you can always set it to 10%. You can boost up the saturation, you can also tweak the cyan / red etc so if an image is too red, you can always try and tone that down. Color artifacts seems to be fairly mild whatever the setting for most of my images. Personally, I like to keep the noise reduction down as if you set it too high, everything just gets smoothed / bland and it rarely improves things at a high value, and noise never particularly worries me anyway.

Output options

The modern effects are a lot more flexible in their output, the result of the work can be put to a new layer, a duplicate of the layer, current layer (which was the old default) as well as a very useful duplicate layer and masked and also a smart tool which means the results can be removed or tweaked at a later date as the image is then a smart object. Having the result returned as a layer means the effect can be tweaked even further by using blending modes as well as combining with other effects and more and also it means that it is a non destructive effect, unless you go for the current layer option


Also super useful is a set of profiles such as bright, high contrast etc where the image will be changed based on the profile though I must admit some of them do much the opposite of what I expect. Still, they add another range of manipulation to your image conversion

Back and Forth

You don't have to be using an old photo, you can use a recent photo or even an illustration or a poser design etc in color and then use the adjustment layers via the image menu to convert the image to gray scale and then use the neural to turn back into full RGB again and the end result can be quite odd. You can also repeat the operation and vary the settings such as the profiles and cyan, magenta etc and the end result can be quite different from the original image.


Re-apply the adjustment and apply the neural effect a few times, you can even set up a quick recorded action for this to apply to any image if you wish


And you also end up with a lot of layers to play with and also use blending modes such as darken and lighten to modify the art even more along with ability to apply effects such as the glass effect to distort the layer and maximum / Gaussian / Box / Motion etc to blur the layer and more.


You can select the subject using the select menu and subject option and with the person selected, apply the effect and the conversion will happen only for that part of the image so the person will suddenly burst into full 21st century. The rest of the image will remain gray scale. The end result is also added to a layer as well which can then be transformed and styles etc added. The opposite can also be done and invert the selection so the rest of the image is changed but the subject is still gray scale.